The cult section of the literary world

Latest

The Strangest: An Interview With Michael J. Seidlinger

Laurance Friend: Did you have to choose between coffee and suicide this morning? Are you really alive?

Michael J. Seidlinger: Truth is I’m already dead and the only thing keeping my body from rotting away is coffee, lots and lots of coffee. Dead is better because you don’t have to give a shit about anything but what keeps you hungry and interested. Meaning books.

LF: Your latest book is The Strangest, a modern take on Albert Camus’s, The Stranger. In what ways does the modern way of life have an impact in your version?

MJS: The most immediate difference is the use of social media. It’s an integral part of Zachary, the main character’s, life. You could say he lives online, and the life led offline is pathetic, even miserable, if viewed and judged by others. The “strangeness” of his life is how he chooses to (dis)engage with it, compartmentalizing every emotion and whim. The book takes place in the modern day, assumed to be in the US, so there are also lots of stores, American football, and numerous drunken parties. I think it was in the Kirkus review, where I heard it being compared to Fight Club in terms of its setting, the locales Zachary navigates… and yeah, my explanation of Zachary’s external world wouldn’t be far off.

LF: You recently did a social experiment based on the book, letting social media dictate your actions, what kind of crazy stuff went down and did you learn anything?

MJS: No, and that’s what might be the most insane part about it. It was all very stressful, essentially having to color my hair blonde, have to do some ballet moves, etc, but the entire experiment was actually quite… complacent. I was surprised by the response; I was worried that it wouldn’t take hold. Mainly due to the fact that social media is crowded these days and more so on Facebook than Twitter, underlying algorithms dictate a post’s visibility. It’s not just who’s online at the time of posting anymore. It’s not just about how many friends you have. It’s about how your post is processed by the platform’s structure. I worried that my posts would fly under the radar. Somehow they didn’t, so okay, maybe I did learn something from the experiment: I’m still capable of being surprised and there’s always more to learn about social media. Oh, people told me I looked good with blonde hair but—fuck that—I’m not going back. Accept me for who I am, not my hair color.

LF: I haven’t gotten to read all of your books, but know your catalog is quite varied. What areas have you explored and which was the toughest to write?

MJS: I’ve explored the transgressive, the surreal, and lately, the YA/New Adult world. I’ve just finished a screenplay and before that, a memoir. I’d say of the work that’s been published (or at least sold/to-be-published), the YA one, “Falter Kingdom,” was the toughest due to the necessity to write for a specific audience. Normally, I follow what I feel the book should be, rarely paying attention to things like demographics. It was different with the YA and posed a unique challenge. Of the work that’s not yet published, hasn’t been sold, or in the case of the memoir, I haven’t even started shopping it around yet, the most difficult was the screenplay. It’s quite difficult writing not from inside a character’s world or mind; when you’re writing what is essentially what the camera sees, things get very objective and very difficult, streamlined, really quickly. When you grow used to writing from within the mind of a character, stepping outside of it poses a unique, and exceedingly difficult, challenge. Man, writing that screenplay sent me into a real and present depression. Doubting myself as a writer, all of that stuff. Real bad. But then again, we all fall into those at times.

LF: I thought The Fun We’ve Had was a deeply surreal and symbolic book. It seems to speak from somewhere in us all, something on the edge of every thought. What was your inspiration for the book? Did you have to become a monk to voice such a void?

MJS: So The Fun We’ve Had happened differently from how I usually begin a novel. Cameron Pierce, editor of Lazy Fascist Press, emailed me the cover of the book as you see it today, no adjustments—the coffin, the young girl and the old man, the greenish sea, everything—with the prompt to write a novel about what this might be. He didn’t give me any details other than the cover and a loose deadline. It’s the first, and really the only, time I’ve ever written something via a prompt. Typically I have the idea and the general outline of something and it’s all very planned, from structure to narrative arc, but with The Fun We’ve Had, I had the cover and the title. I had to figure out what it could be. The end result, yeah, neither Cameron nor I expected it to become a surrealistic tale about dead lovers floating in a coffin on a purgatorial sea. I went in blind, but was I a monk? No. A blind monk? Maybe. What matters is that it’s done and the process was truly fun, and very different.

LF: What would you consider the highlights of your life as a writer? What keeps you writing?

MJS: The elusiveness of a good idea. I’m always brainstorming, looking for possibilities. Inspiration keeps me writing. A great idea decides the way. As a writer, I need to feel every word or else, there’s no point. If it doesn’t feel right, or feel like anything, it shouldn’t exist. Never waste a word.

LF: Who are your literary heroes and what peers do you recommend for others to read?

MJS: Oh man..there are so many literary heroes out there. I’ll just name the first three that pop up in my head: Isaac Fitzgerald of Buzzfeed Books, Lidia Yuknavich, author of The Small Backs of Children, and Dennis Cooper, author of Zac’s Control Panel. So many good people out there… I could go on a namedrop spree. But I won’t. They are the type of lit citizens that go above and beyond the call of duty (don’t you dare think of the videogame), promoting the work of others and essentially keeping community morale high.

Same goes with who I’d recommend. There’s so much out there. So many amazing, unique voices that I feel it would be debilitating to start up a list. So same rule of three: Joshua Jennifer Espinosa, Matthew Bookin, and Elle Nash. Three that come immediately to mind. But yeah, could go on a namedrop spree. Won’t, but seriously could.

LF: What’s a typical day in the life of Mr. Seidlinger?

MJS: Wake up at 5:55AM, go to the day gig. Leave at 3:30-4pm, fit in a workout before sitting down at the computer and going through correspondence, then any/all editing needed for CCM and Electric Lit; afterwards, I spend an hr or two on my own writing, then correspondence again. Some “free time” to read or watch something. Then correspondence. I think I sleep at some point, then correspondence. Correspondence = the emails, they never end.

LF: You wake up a cockroach one day, what is it you do?

MJS: I take a selfie and post it on social media.

LF: You run a publishing press known as Civil Coping Mechanisms and have helped bring a great deal of work into the world. What’s the origin story? Have any favorite titles?

MJS: The press started as an intended art collective—think a press, record label, and more all rolled into one—by a guy, and friend, named Gabe Cardona, but things never picked up on any other front except the publishing part so it sort of organically became a small press. He backed away towards the end of 2013, beginning of 2014, and CCM was set to shutter but since I had already been helping out with operations, I stepped in to save it. At the beginning of 2015, CCM merged with Entropy and we haven’t looked back since—things have remained active and the community surrounding the press and magazine has a lot of amicable energy, the sort that inspires as much as it motivates; so yeah, perhaps the “art collective” part never disappeared; it simply manifested in a different way. Nope, as publisher I’m the “parent” or “papa” of all the books published. I favor them all equally; each book is so different, much like its author’s voice, so there’s a lot to love about any CCM title you might pick up. I’d like to think that I’m a good “parent,” or at least trying my best at being a “good parent.”

LF: What is the super power you most desire?

MJS: Mind control, but I wouldn’t be like Kilgrave from Marvel’s Jessica Jones; I’d use the power to control MY MIND. It gets exhausting having all these scattered thoughts and doubts and so forth. Being able to control every damn thought would be amazing.

LF: Do you still feel alive?

MJS: Nope. Dead, remember? RIP. Every day is the same.

 

TheStrangest_2015_07_27_CVF

PURCHASE THE STRANGEST & SEIDLINGER’S OTHER NOVELS HERE.

 

About the interviewer:

Laurance Friend is a freelance travel journalist, digital vagabond, truth-seeker, and poet under the moniker of NOBODY IMPORTANT. His first collection, SELF-LOATHING & OTHER FORMS OF CYNICISM is available to purchase around the globe in digital format. You can better follow his adventures on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Interview with Richard Thomas

 

gamut

Richard Thomas is a brilliant author, and he’s Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press. Richard has taken time out of his busy schedule to chat with me about Smurfs, Gamut Magazine, and other topics.

Jeremy C. Shipp: Hi, Richard. Welcome to my little chthonic cave. I hope you didn’t have any problems finding your way here.

Richard Thomas: Hey, Jeremy. Thanks. Just followed the trail of bones, and the colony of bats that came streaming out of the opening. No worries.

JCS: First of all, I should ask the question that’s on everyone’s mind. Do you believe that eating live Smurfs is morally wrong?

RT: I’d have to say yes—no matter how juicy or delicious they might be. Eating anything that’s still alive is pretty cruel. Smurf is a little gamey for my taste, anyway.

JCS: We’ll have to agree to disagree. Anyway, if you were a supervillain, what creatures would you want as your trusty minions?

RT: Huh. Minions—something prehistoric, maybe? Pterodactyl? I wrote a flash fiction piece about a Gandaberunda, a two-headed mythological bird. Those would be cool. Although I do have a slight fear of flying monkeys from my childhood Wizard of Oz days—so maybe that’s too close. As a kid, when asked what animal I wanted to be, it was always a cheetah.

JCS: Which multiverse hypothesis do you find most compelling?

RT: I have a lot of beliefs—some which may contradict each other. I believe in reincarnation, but I want to believe there is some kind of heaven. I believe in ghosts, that there are aliens out there, life on other planets. I’d like to believe in parallel dimensions. I’ve seen some wild things in my life, time rewinding, and playing back, which makes me think what we believe to be true is probably not very accurate. I also love The Matrix. There’s the end of Interstellar to consider, too. Whether you want to apply Occam’s Razor, or believe in quilted, brane, cyclic, or inflationary multiverses, I think we probably know only a fraction of what’s really going on.

JCS: What would you do if you met your doppelganger?

RT: I think there would probably be a handful of gut responses—kill it, have a conversation, or pretend you didn’t see it. I’d probably want to sit down and talk, try to understand what was going on, because it would certainly shake my reality. Saw a movie recently, Enemy, with Jake Gyllenhaal that was really interesting, about a doppelganger. There are days I feel that this is all a dream, and there are days where I feel that I’ve lived this life before. Who knows?

JCS: What question would you least like me to ask? And can you answer that question?

RT: I’m sure I’ve got some skeletons in my closets I’d prefer to leave there. And no, I’d prefer not to get into that.

JCS: How do you deal with withered hands growing out of your walls?

RT: You know, a hand, by it’s definition and nature, just wants to touch—it wants to hold, stroke, caress—just wants to be loved, like the rest of us. They want to feel valued, and special, a part of something. And withered, I imagine there would already be some self-conscious doubt, not the hands they used to be, all of the young, soft hands getting the attention. So, the way I deal with MY withered hands growing out of MY walls is to embrace them—I let them get to work, in a number of ways. Very exciting. The future of publishing, I think.

JCS: By George, I think you’re right. If Earth were an egg, what do you believe would hatch from it?

RT: LOL. Good question. I think it could go one of two ways—all of the love, and peace, and kindness could give birth to some kind of beautiful, angelic creature (why am I thinking about the baby at the end of 2001?) or it could be the opposite—all of our hatred, fear and violence born in some demonic, mythic, destructive beast. Depends on if you’re a half-full or half-empty kind of guy, I think.

JCS: Do you have a favorite Bizarro author/filmmaker/artist?

RT: Oh, man, that’s tricky. I was just thinking about this the other day. The first story I ever published was a bit of bizarro at Opium Magazine, entitled “Animal Magnetism” about a couple that gets a series of animal parts attached, in order to make their sex life better. I think the opening line was something like, “It started out with the elephant penis and went downhill from there.” Bradley Sands passed on it for Beat Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens, but suggested Opium. Which brings me to a reading Bradley did at an AWP event, maybe in Denver, where he read a story about soccer moms that just had the room in stitches, so funny. I laughed so much. So, I think I’ll always have a soft spot for Bradley.

JCS: What is the origin story of your interest in neo-noir and transgressive fiction?

RT: I think it all starts with Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. I saw the movie, and it woke me up. I found his books, and read everything he had out, starting with Choke, Survivor, Diary, Lullaby, etc. That got me to The Velvet, a website for Will Christopher Baer, Craig Clevenger and Stephen Graham Jones. Those guys really spoke to me, the way they bent genres to create dark, lyrical stories that were both exciting and literary, ticking off all of the flavors—salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami. I didn’t know you could write like that. I read some wild authors in college, William Burroughs, for example, but I grew up reading Stephen King and John Grisham, popular writers, mostly. Later, when I got my MFA, I’d study the dark sheep of the literary world—Denis Johnson, Mary Gaitskill, Cormac McCarthy, Joyce Carol Oates, Haruki Murakami, Toni Morrison, etc. So, for me, the ideal story, or novel finds the sweet spot between genre and lit, between visceral and introspective, between tension and lyricism. That’s what I try to write, and that’s what I like to edit and publish.

JCS: Can you tell us a bit about Gamut magazine?

RT: Sure. It’s an online magazine I’m Kickstarting on 2/1/16. It will focus on fiction, with new stories out every Monday, reprints every Thursday, with columns sprinkled in, and poetry, as well. If we can hit a few stretch goals, we’ll expand to more non-fiction, a Flash Fiction Friday, and a Saturday Night Special (which would be a serialization of Stripped: A Memoir, to start). We’ll focus on the kind of genres we’ve been talking about here—fantasy, science fiction, horror, transgressive, magical realism, neo-noir, Southern gothic, bizarro, and new weird—all with a literary bent. It won’t be “classic” in any sense of the word, but contemporary dark fiction. If Gamut were a film it would be directed by David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, or David Lynch. We need to raise $52,000, and the bulk of that will come from an annual subscription of $30, for over 400,000 words of fiction, new art every week, and much more. After the Kickstarter, the regular rate will be $60/year, or $5/ month. We will NEVER offer the $30/year rate again. AND, as long as you keep renewing, you can keep that rate indefinitely. If you’ve read any of my writing, the books I’ve published at Dark House Press, and/or the four anthologies I’ve edited—The New Black and Exigencies (Dark House Press), Burnt Tongues, with Chuck Palahniuk and Dennis Widmyer (Medallion), or The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press)—then you’re probably familiar with my aesthetic.

JCS: Where do you see Gamut in 10 years? And where do you see it after the Singularity?

RT: I’d like us to be an important part of the landscape—alongside publications like Tor, Nightmare, Apex, F&SF, Clarkesworld, Black Static, Shock Totem, etc. I’d like to see us continue to grow, to gain the kind of following that Tin House and A24 Films have—passionate fans that are invested in what we do. This is all in progress—people can make suggestions, help us to shape and form Gamut, into something special. Hopefully. As for after the Singularity, hopefully Gamut will just start running itself and I can chill out on a beach in Hawaii and sip on Piña Coladas for the rest of my life.

JCS: Perhaps a pterodactyl butler could serve you the drinks? Thank you kindly for taking the time to answer my questions. Here’s a complementary bag of fresh ectoplasm.

RT: My pleasure. Great questions, Jeremy. Oh, and thanks, I just ran out, this saves me a trip to the store.

JCS: *backs away and fades into the shadows*

If you feel so inclined, check out Gamut Magazine’s kickstarter campaign right here. 

richardthomasRichard Thomas is the author of seven books: Three novels, Disintegration and Breaker (Random House Alibi), and Transubstantiate (Otherworld Publications); three short story collections, Tribulations (Crystal Lake), Staring Into the Abyss (Kraken Press), and Herniated Roots (Snubnose Press); as well as one novella of The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books). With over 100 stories published, his credits include Cemetery Dance, PANK, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Midwestern Gothic, Arcadia, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad 2 & 3, Gutted, and Shivers 6. He has won contests at ChiZine and One Buck Horror, and has received five Pushcart Prize nominations to date. He is also the editor of four anthologies: Exigencies and The New Black (Dark House Press), The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press) and Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press) with Chuck Palahniuk (finalist for the Bram Stoker Award). In his spare time he is a columnist at LitReactor and Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press. He has taught at LitReactor, the University of Iowa, StoryStudio Chicago, and in Transylvania. His agent is Paula Munier at Talcott Notch. For more information visit www.whatdoesnotkillme.com.

Flash Fiction Friday: Dope

by Leza Cantoral

They say they saw little green men on the moon.

In the darkness you can touch yourself but then the lights flash bright and the little green men put cold hard objects into your orifices. They drip milk into your eyes. They fill you with their sperm until it comes out of your eye sockets. Their long fingers explore your body to see what it can do. They fill your holes with electric rods and liquids. They watch you squirm and scream and squirt. They probe your anus. They have the curtesy to use lubricant. The lubricant jelly feels cold and wet like a frog licking your asshole—they’re reaching into your anus to see if you hid your soul in there.

***

So I am at a party in Brentwood, near Santa Monica. You know the neighborhood; it’s where O.J. Simpson stabbed the living fuck out of his wife’s fake boobs along with her plastic fantastic lover back in the golden 90’s. Now Nicole’s ex- BFF Kris Jenner is whoring out her brood for TV ratings. The brood she made with one of O.J.’s defense lawyers.

And here she is in all her living glory, snorting lines of cocaine off of Justin Bieber’s cock. That woman is the kiss of death. Her first husband is dead and her second husband rejected his very cockness and turned himself into another fuckdoll. But Justin Bieber doesn’t care who is snorting coke off his cock as long as someone is snorting coke off his cock.

I’m just rolling and rolling and rolling. I’m dancing and I feel like I will never be tired or need to eat or sleep again. Everything seems beautiful for one eternal sunshine moment. Waves of pleasure rolling over each other and over me. I am an ocean fuckpile. This moment is my soul. I am empty and full of this love juice. I don’t need to fuck to feel the fuck inside. I am the fuck. I am the fuckness.

I wake up, fried from rolling on ecstasy all night and I stumble over the half-naked bodies, beer bottles, piles of drugs, discarded underwear and party hats that lie strewn all over the floor. Has it been weeks, or one long night?

I have no idea.

I feel dazed and hollowed out to my core like someone took a melon baller to my soul. I am awake and I want to see the tangerine dream bleeding on the trees outside. I rub my eyes and look around through my melting lashes at all the happy drunken babies glittering in yesterday’s glamour, drool caked on their painted lips, eyeliner smudged over raccoon eyes. Party animals snoring off yesterday’s cocaine apocalypse.

The sky is streaked pink and orange like a beat-up Mardi Gras Queen. The porch overlooks a giant canyon.

I lean myself over the railing like a Dali melting clock. I swear my arms are dripping in big glowing fiery clumps down to the trees below. I gaze over the chasm of the canyon, smoking a cigarette. It feels like air after all the sweat inside. Ahhh….sweet sweet nicotine.

I notice a slight motion in the distance. I rub my eyes and I blink them hard and see it is a white creature that looks like a horse with no rider running along the other end of the canyon! It stops for a minute and I get a good look at it. I stare at it like it is an algebraic equation written tiny on a blackboard. I read it back and forth, tip to tip. Tail to horn. It can be nothing else. Somehow, of all the impossible things this is running around Brentwood canyon at 6 am. It is a white unicorn.

I run back inside to get my camera.

By the time I find it and run back outside it is gone. There is something else in the canyon instead. It is a massive craft hovering above, making absolutely no noise and not moving, just hovering there in the California morning fog. A bright and blinding light suddenly beams out from beneath it. I cannot scream and I cannot move a muscle. I am paralyzed as the light pulls me up into something huge as a shopping mall.

I lie there numb and look at the lights spinning inside. My back is up against a metal slab and many hands are reaching at my clothes. Their hands are cold and clammy. They peel off my underwear and my t shirt and pour a pink goo over my entire body. They rub and smear it in.

I try to struggle and scream but I cannot. I am floating above my own body, watching their hands touching it. Their eyes are huge and black and their skin is green. Their heads are massive in proportion to their bodies and their fingers are so long. One of them puts its finger inside my vagina. It keeps going in deeper and deeper as if it will never stop. I feel the tip hit the opening of my cervix and my abdomen begins to contract with waves of intensifying cramps.

There are four of them. They look at each other in amazement at the depth of my cervix. They take a clear plastic tube and feed it into my throat. They insert another tube between my legs. A bright blue liquid that tastes like mouthwash streams down my throat and a bright red liquid that both cools and burns explodes into my vagina. They take a giant needle and inject it into the center of my belly button. The pain is indescribable.

I look over and I see the unicorn. It is also on a slab. It is unconscious and they are cutting into its white furry flesh with glittering surgical knives. They cut off the head. They cut off each limb. They cut into its gut and remove the entrails. They take each part and vacuum package it. They are filling up vials and vials of its bright red blood. It glitters and glows. They test it and test it but they cannot find the magic hidden inside and I cry and cry and cry. I am screaming inside but my mouth remains immobile.

They say it is the last unicorn. They are disappointed. They shake their heads. The last unicorn.

They grind up the horn. The sound of the bone saw shreds my eardrum. After what seems like hours of grinding and sawing and prodding, we arrive at our destination and I almost sob with relief.

They land the ship on the moon, with a soft thud in a cloud of moon dust. The ship enters a hangar that drops swiftly down several miles beneath the surface. There are endless laboratories and hallways full of test subjects and stolen aircraft technology that is being reverse-engineered.

The moon is a hollowed out alien base. It always was just one big eye in the sky. The unicorn is dead and the aliens are filling me with its blood.

I’m a bloody rainbow.

I can feel the blood of the unicorn inside of me.

I feel electrified.

My blood is a glittery, fiery mess, and my heart is going to explode.

I feel orgasmic.

I feel suicidal.

I feel like my brain is going to spill into the universe…

The unicorn is the death of my soul.

I am the death of the universe.

_________

Leza Cantoral is a Bizarro and Horror author. Her first novelette, Planet Mermaid, is a retelling of The Little Mermaid with a Takashi Miike twist. She is currently working on her first short story collection and her first Bizarro novella. Her stories are surrealistic pop culture mudpies that blur the lines between self and reality.

TOP TEN MOVIES OF 2015

By Jeff Burk

It’s that time again – my favorite movies of 2015! But if you want to see what I liked previous years, check out these links:

2000-2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014

Wow, 2015 was an amazing year for movies. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a hard time narrowing down to ten favorite films. This was a year that genre films ruled – horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and action all got amazing contributions to their field.

After an extremely weak showing in 2014, horror bounced back this year. While art-horror family dramas are still receiving all the buzz (I’m looking at you, GOODNIGHT, MOMMY) there was plenty of weirdo, gory, and transgressive movies being released in the underground. Hell, there were so many that I didn’t even get to see everything I wanted to this year (namely a ton of underground Japanese movies that I wasn’t aware of until the end of the year).

Mainstream mass release movies were also bit by the genre bug this year with MAD MAX, THE AVENGERS, and STAR WARS dominating the box office and best-of lists (but none of those movies are on my top ten). It’s hard to miss the fact that those three movies are all sequels. I frequently hear people bemoan the number of sequels and remakes released and that “there’s no new ideas.”  In reality, there’s plenty of original and great movies coming out – you just have to look for them/actually watch them. I was very pleased when I realized that my top ten list doesn’t have a single sequel or remake.

In terms of original filmmaking, 2015 may have been the best year of the 10’s thus far.

Enough buildup, let’s get to the list!

HONORABLE MENTIONS OF 2015: THE VOICES, IT FOLLOWS, GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF, CAM GIRLZ, EX MACHINA, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3, ATTACK ON TITAN, UNFRIENDED, THE VISIT, and DEEP DARK.

All those movies listed above are worth checking out – there was just so much good shit this year! But I had to have favorites, and here they are:

10: CHAPPIE (Neill Blomkamp, United States)

chappie-poster-teaser

We got two sci-fi movies this year that dealt with the concept of artificial intelligence. EX MACHINA was the critical darling and I get why – it’s technically excellent. But I preferred CHAPPIE. While EM stuck to one aspect of A.I. to explore it fully, CHAPPIE gloriously throws everything against the wall and doesn’t give a shit if it sticks – family, religion, government, law, personal responsibility, and tons more weighty topics are hit one after another in a movie over-flowing with ideas and passion.

Plus, Die Antwood playing the main characters was the most inspired casting of any film this year.

9: EVERLY (Joe Lynch, United States)

everly-revised

Joe Lynch (KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM) finally returns and this time he has a movie that he actually had full control of! Salma Hayek plays a prostitute (Everly) who is targeted by the Yakuza after they discover she has been working with the police. What follows is ninety minutes of pure blood-soaked chaos.  Lynch shows what a creative mind can do with a relatively low budget and amazingly sets almost the entire move in one room and hallway. The limited sets and claustrophobic feeling only add to the desperation as Everly fights off wave after wave of attackers.

In a year in which female stars in action movies got a lot of attention, EVERLY went sadly beneath most viewers’ radar. Fuck Furiosa. Fuck Rey. Everly was the most badass woman on the silver screen this year.

8: CLOWN (Jon Watts, United States/Canada)

Clown-poster-2014-Jon-Watts-348x500

I love movies like this, an absolutely ridiculous premise but played deathly serious. The movie is about a man who puts on a demon-possessed clown costume and now he is turning into a clown/demon with a taste for children. As absurd as that sounds, the movie never goes for laughs and instead embraces the surreal terror of the situation. This was the surprise body-horror hit of the year for me. If you dig twisted shit like early Cronenberg, TUSK, or the HUMAN CENTIPEDE series – you need to check this out.

Plus, the entire movie is about killing children. Which I always argue we need more of in film.

7: CALL ME LUCKY (Bobcat Goldthwait, United States)

call me lucky

Who would have thought that a documentary made by Bobcat Goldthwait about stand-up comedian Barry Crimmins would be the darkest film of the year. The movie starts off as a documentary about a comedian but then the viewer finds out about a violent rape Crimmins suffered as a child. The documentary shifts then into the story of Crimmins being one of the first people to begin to expose the predatory online practices of pedophiles.

By the end of this movie you will be furious at law enforcement, organized religion, and internet providers that all “allowed” more children to become victims. This is powerful, disturbing, and, yet by the end, strangely life-affirming.

Goldthwait has been proving himself over recent years to be one of the most interesting working filmmakers out there (GOD BLESS AMERICA, WORLD’S GREATEST DAD, and SLEEPING DOGS LIE) and this is his best, and heaviest, yet.

6: KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (Matthew Vaughn, United States/United Kingdom)

Kingsman-The-Secret-Service-movie-poster

From the wonderfully crass and over-the-top combination of Matthew Vaughn and Mark Millar (that gave up the glorious KICK-ASS series) comes another ultra-violent destruction of genre tropes. This time they set their eyes on James Bond and other spy movies. They ramp up the sexism, nationalism, and violence of the spy genre to eleven to create a vicious satire pointing out how fucked-up those movies are. Crass, irreverent, and gleefully nihilistic – if more spy movies were like this, I might actually care about the genre.

And the church fight was one of the best scenes in any movie this year.

5: WE ARE STILL HERE (Ted Geoghegan, United States)

we are still here

This was a wonderful horror shocker that seemed to come out of nowhere. A haunted house story with some very, very gory surprises. I can’t say much about the plot without spoiling things but I haven’t seen a movie in many years that invoked so much of the feel of the 70’s and 80’s Italian horror. Nightmare logic, surreal villains, and vicious violence made this the best straight-up horror film of the year.

It feels so much like a lost Fulci film. Seriously, what else do I need to say?

4: DUDE BRO PARTY MASSACRE III (Tomm Jacobsen, Michael Rousselet, and Jon Salmon, United States)

dude-bro-party-massacre-iii

From the people behind 5-Second Films comes the greatest slasher parody of all-time. Presenting itself as a lost movie from the 80’s, this movie hilariously deconstructs and gender-flips every trope from the era to create movie where you truly have no idea what will happen from minute to minute.

I could go on and on about the creative brilliance on display here but that would take away from the film’s many surprises. If you like stupidly clever, low-budget trash (think Troma and Astron-6), you’ll love this movie.

3: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, New Zealand) 

What_We_Do_in_the_Shadows_poster

Considering that this movie is practically on everyone’s top ten of the year list, I don’t have much to add to the conversation. Other than the fact that there’s a reason this was on everyone’s list – it’s easily the funniest movie of the year. If, somehow, you haven’t heard of this vampire mockumentary, unfuck that and watch the trailer below.

2: YAKUZA APOCALYPSE (Takashi Miike, Japan

yakuza-apocalypse-the-great-war-of-the-underworld-2015-poster

Takashi Miike (ICHI: THE KILLER, HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS, DEAD OR ALIVE, and many more) finally returns to his weirdo cult roots and gives us a film packed with vampires, martial arts, and the world’s greatest terrorist wearing a full-body frog costume. This is a special type of movie for a special type of person – most people would HATE this movie. But if you’re like me and enjoy absurdism, nonsensical violence, and scenes over-flowing with pure weird, you’ll find a lot to love here.

1: SPRING (Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, United States)

spring

Here we are, my favorite movie of the year and it’s a romance. Seriously.

SPRING is the second film from the genius writer/director pair that gave us RESOLUTION (which is one of my favorite horror movies of the past few years) and they have returned with a film that is truly something special and completely unique. Combing romance with pure Lovecraftian cosmic horror in a manner that neither genre overwhelms the other was a balancing act that should be impossible but, somehow, SPRING nails it.

I wish I could tell you more but it is really best to go into this movie blind. Great acting, amazing cinematography, gorgeous sets, and a fantastic script made this into the standout of the year for me.

Between RESOLUTION and now SPRING, Benson and Moorhead are at the top of my list of new horror filmmakers to keep an eye on.

WHAT AM I LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2016

ABATTOIR (Darren Lynn Bousman, United States)

I’m a sucker for a good haunted house movie and ABATTOIR has one of the most original spins on the concept that I’ve ever heard. It’s about someone who “makes” a haunted house by taking rooms from other houses that were the scenes of violent crimes and assembling them together into a new house. It’s such a simple and brilliant idea. There’s no release date yet but I’m hoping I don’t have to wait too long to see it.

abattoir-watermarked

So that’s my list for 2015. Agree? Think I’m full of shit? Let me know in the comments.

And before everyone starts asking, I didn’t like MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (yep, there are people that didn’t like that movie) and I didn’t see STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (I’m more of STAR TREK and DOCTOR WHO kinda guy).

The JEFF ATTACKS Podcast

Deadite Press head editor, Jeff Burk (Shatnerquake, Super Giant Monster Time, Cripple Wolf, and Shatnerquest), has started a new podcast about weirdo artists, strange creators, bizarre performers, and shit he thinks is cool.

The first five episodes are now live and feature interviews with Andrew Goldfarb, MP Johnson,.Pedro Proença, and Veronica Chaos.

Readings from Cameron Pierce, Rios De La Luz, J David Osborne, Matthew T. Granberry, and Nathan Carson.

Plus music from The Slow Poisoner, Anti-Venöm, Mandy De Sandra, The Stupid Stupid Henchmen, and the world premiere of a brand new song from Night Gaunts!

Go check it out!

jeff-attacks

Flash Fiction Friday: The Body

by Meg Sefton

The body is in a bag. The body is on a cart. The body rolls out of the bedroom. The body rolls out of the living room. The body rolls by the family pictures. The body rolls through the kitchen. The body bumps over the threshold to the garage. The body rolls past the family cars. The body rolls past the hedge trimmed just last week. The body rolls by the neighborhood children. The body stops so a child might tie a red balloon to the cart. The body bumps down the sidewalk. A girl showers it with flowers. The body sits next to a homeless man for a while. The man unzips the bag and relieves the body of its wedding band. The body leaves the man behind and zooms through the traffic. The body runs a red light. Cars careen around the body. There is screeching, smashing, crunching, grinding, someone screaming, metal and glass flying.

The body goes to a museum. It rolls past the canvases thick with paint, heavy with fevered dreams. The body visits animals at the zoo. It is shat upon by a monkey who tries to feed it peanuts where a mouth should be. The body rolls past a river where it races a barge filled with coal. At the dock, the body is saluted by a soldier. At the church, it is hurriedly blessed by a Father who sprinkles holy water on the shitty body bag. Downtown, a whore straddles the body and gets off. A dope dealer smuggles his stash under the torso.

At the hospital, nurses shake their heads knowingly as the body rolls through the halls and out the exit. At the bank, the teller willingly gives over all of the money to the body she’s so frightened. The money flies out of the surrendered bag as the body flies down the street. Men and women and children take what they can. The children buy candy. The men and women go to bars, take their spouses out, plan parties.

The body crushes a wife beater. The body rolls over a rapist. The body cuts a politician off at the knees. The body goes to a concert. He rolls through a mosh pit. He helps carry a crowd surfer. The concert goers find the dope and are grateful. The body gets arrested. The body gets put in jail. The body busts out and goes on the lamb.

The body finds a family who needs a body, a family who isn’t upset by a body but who just wants some other body to hang out with somewhere on the outskirts of town where a body can be a somebody and not the nobody which many would have him believe he is.

_______

Meg Sefton’s work has appeared in Best New Writing, The Dos Passos Review, Danse Macabre, Chrome Baby, Asylum Ink, and other journals. She received her MFA in Fiction from Seattle Pacific University and lives in Winter Springs, FL with her son and little white dog “Annie.”

Flash Fiction Friday: Gag Reel

by Sean Kelly

The couple stood on the beach where they had first met, the ocean water sloshing around their ankles. Justin stroked Natalie’s hair and she smiled. The moonlight glistened in her eyes. They gazed at each other. This was the moment they had been waiting for all these years. His heart raced as he leaned in and kissed her, so did hers. Their lips parted, but they remained close enough to breathe each other’s breath. Natalie ran her fingers down his chest.

“I’ve dreamt of this moment,” she kissed his shoulder. “For so long.”

“Me too,” Justin whispered in her ear. “I love you, Natalie.”

“I… I loofah you too, Justin.”

The crew broke in to laughter. Natalie blushed.

“Cut!” the director chuckled.

“Loofah!?” she teased herself. “Yeah, that’s right! I loofah you, Justin.”

“Why I loofah you too, my love!” he joked.

This put the crew in hysterics. Except the camera man, who just wanted to get this scene over with.

“Alright, alright.” The director wiped a tear from his eye. “Compose yourselves. From the top!”

The laughter stopped.

***

“The Romantic Beach. Scene 14. Take 2.” The crew member clapped a clapperboard.

Justin’s heart raced as he leaned in and kissed her, so did hers. Their lips parted, but they remained close enough to breathe each other’s breath. Natalie ran her fingers down his chest.

“I’ve dreamt of this moment,” she kissed his shoulder. “For so long.”

“Me too,” Justin whispered in her ear. “I loofah you, Nat-”

Uproarious laughter.

“Ah, see!? Now you’ve got me doing it!” He slapped himself on the forehead.

“Cut!”

The crew were all red in the face from their giggling. The camera man rolled his eyes, unamused.

“Okay, lets…” The director struggled to get his words out through intense laughter. “Lets try this again. Everyone, quiet on the set! From the top!”

The laughter stopped.

***

“The Romantic Beach. Scene 14. Take 3.” Clap.

Natalie ran her fingers down his chest.

“I’ve dreamt of this moment,” she kissed his shoulder. “For so long.”

“Me too,” Justin whispered in her ear. “I love you, Natalie.”

“I love you too, Justin.” She drifted off in deep thought for a moment. “What do you think it’ll be like when we grow old?”

Justin broke their embrace and looked down at the water.

“What is it, my love?” she asked, concerned.

“It’s just…” he was on the verge of tears. “There’s someone else…”

Natalie’s heart broke. Her skin went cold.

“Someone else!? How could this be? You love someone more than me?”

“Its…” he reached in his pocket.” “It’s my loofah!” he whipped out a loofah and used it as a puppet as he spoke in a high pitch voice.

“You’re not takin’ my man, you dirty bitch!” The loofah went off.

At this point the crew members were rolling around in the sand, gagging on their laughs. The clapperboard guy was so hysterical that he started bashing his own skull in with the clapperboard. The boom operator was hammering away at the ground with the mic. A stunt double puked.

“PFFFFT! Cut, people! Cut!” The director’s face looked like he was being strangled. “Quiet! Quiet on the-PFFFT! HAHAHAHA!”

The camera man rubbed his temples. He was becoming increasingly annoyed. Justin did a little jig with his loofah.

“LOOFAH! LOOFAH! LOOFAH!” he chanted in his high pitch loofah voice.

Crew members began passing out from laughing so hard. Natalie desperately gasped for air. He sat down in the ocean and pretended to bathe with the loofah.

“Oh baby! That’s right!” the loofah moaned. “Rub me all over your body!”

Clapperboard guy collapsed and his brains spilled out of his forehead. The boom operator used the mic to pole vault herself in to the ocean. The director frantically slapped himself in an attempt to regain his composure. One of the extras took off sprinting down the beach, his laughter disappearing in to the darkness.

By now, Justin had stripped naked and was scrubbing his balls with the loofah, continuing to talk for it. Natalie reached down and snatched it from him.

“Justin is mine, you silly loofah! He just uses you to clean my juices off his dick!” she chucked it out in to the ocean.

A few moments later, the boom operator popped up from the surface with the loofah in her mouth. She dog paddled to the beach while everyone continued to laugh. Once she stepped out to the sand, she bent her head back and fired the loofah in the air. It came back down and landed on the tip of Justin’s erect penis.

“Loofah, my love!” he grinned, pointing at it. “You came back to me!”

“Oh yeah! I couldn’t enough of your giant cock!” it replied.

This brought on unimaginable waves of laughter. Justin flexed his dick, flinging the loofah back in to the air. It fell several feet back in the ocean with a plop.

The camera man gritted his teeth and spoke sternly. “Can we please get this shot over with? I have shit to do.”

The director composed himself beyond a smirk that he couldn’t wipe off. “He’s right guys. Everyone quiet on the set. Let’s take it from the top!”

Clapperboard guy’s leg twitched slightly. He was dead. The director looked back at the puking stunt double to tell him to clap and realized that he was dead as well, his smiling corpse still puking an endless stream. He turned his attention to the camera man and raised an eyebrow. The camera man pinched the bridge of his nose and went over to clapperboard guy’s corpse, picked up his brain and walked in front of the camera.

***

“The Romantic Beach. Scene 14. Take 4.” The camera man said unenthusiastically, stretching the brain and releasing, causing it to make a slapping noise as it popped back in to form. He dropped it, went back around the camera and continued filming.

The couple stood on the beach where they had first met, Justin’s erect penis deflating. He poked the tip of Natalie’s nose and said “Boop!”, she smiled. They gazed at each other. This was the moment they had been waiting for all these years. His heart raced as he leaned in to kiss her.

Suddenly, the loofah washed on to shore. Natalie pushed Justin away.

“I cant…” she sighed. “Not with the loofah watching.”

The camera man slowly panned in on the loofah. It looked heartbroken.

“Don’t worry about that, Natalie,” he assured her. “That loofah was just a fling. It’s you that I love.”

A tear ran from Natalie’s eye. “I wish I could I believe that. But I’ve seen how you two are together. Loofahs are the perfect life form. Of course you’d choose it over me. I’m just a human. Inferior in every way.”

“Natalie… Please understand. It was just about sex. That loofah means nothing.”

She stared at him blankly. “Maybe you don’t realize it yet, but that loofah means everything.”

Natalie spit in his face, turned and walked in to the ocean. Justin began crying and looked over at the motionless loofah. His sadness turned to anger as he marched towards it.

“This is good.” The director whispered with a sinister smile. “Keep rolling.”

The camera man nodded and did as he was told.

Justin bent down over the loofah and gripped it with both hands. He spoke in his loofah voice again.

“Justin!?” The loofah cried, as his dick became erect again. “No! What are you doing!? Stop!”

He shoved his cock all the way through the loofah and began thrusting furiously.

“LOOFAH! LOOFAH! LOOFAH!” he chanted in his high pitch loofah voice, continuing to thrust.

“Yes! YES!” The director moaned, shoving his hands down his pants and playing with himself.

The camera man breathed heavily as he filmed, shoved the camera’s eyepiece deep in to his eye socket.

“LOOFAH! No, please let me go! LOOFAH! You’re hurting me!” the loofah begged for mercy through Justin’s mouth.

“AH! AH! YEEES!” The director moaned, a stain forming on the front of his slacks. “We’re gonna win an Oscar for this one, camera man.”

The eyepiece busted out the back of the camera man’s skull, dripping blood.

“TAKE IT! LOOFAH! TAKE IT ALL!” Justin screamed manically. “Take. Every. Fucking. Inch.” He threw his head back and howled like a wolf. Gallons of cum shot from the top of the loofah.

“LOOOOOOFAAAAAAAH!”

Justin did a little jig, then fell motionless, the cum soaked loofah still wrapped around his ejaculating cock. He convulsed and semen oozed from every orifice. His eyes rolled back. He was dead. The director pulled his sticky hands from his pants and ran them through his beard.

“Perfect,” he said. “That is a wrap.”

The camera man yanked the eyepiece out of his eye socket. Blood gushed from the holes on both sides of his head.

“About fucking time!” The camera man sighed in relief, unfazed by his head leakage. “I thought we’d never get that shot.”

The director licked cum and beard hair off his fingers. “But we got it. And boy did we ever. I fucking love this business, camera man.”

“Yeah… I fucking loofah this business too.” The camera man’s eye widened, his face went pale. “Wait! LOVE! I MEANT LOVE! I LOVE THIS BUSINESS! I-”

A shotgun blast blew the camera man’s head apart, splattering the director with brains. The headless body stood for a moment, projecting crimson several feet in the air, then fell and it’s limbs curled up like a spider.

“Cut.” A high pitched voice said.

A crew of man-sized loofahs were behind a second camera, filming the original crew. One of them lowered their smoking shotgun. The loofah director bounced over to the human director, who was actually just an actor in the loofah’s new experimental art film/interspecies rape porno.

“LOOFAH! LOOFAH! Sorry we had to kill your friend,” the loofah director apologized insincerely. “LOOFAH! But you know how expensive this film is. LOOFAH! We can’t afford any more fuck ups.”

The loofah yanked the film reel off the prop camera and started feeding it down the actor’s throat. After the last of the film had been consumed, the loofah stepped back.

“Are you ready to try again? LOOFAH!”

“Please…” The actor pleaded. “Just let me go. I can’t keep doing this. I can’t masturbate to a man fucking a loofah again. I’m all masturbated out. For Christ’s sake! My balls are killing me!”

The loofah thought for a moment. “Very well. LOOFAH! Put him out of his misery.”

The shotgun loofah raised his shotgun and fired a hole through the actor’s chest, ending him. The crew of loofahs began laughing uncontrollably.

“Alright, LOOFAH! Alright.” The loofah director said. “Compose yourselves. LOOFAH! LOOFAH! Lets take it from the top!”

The laughter stopped.

“But sir…” The loofah camera man interjected. ”All the actors are dead.”

The loofah director looked around at the bloody mess of corpses. “Hm. You’re right. LOOFAH! Wait, I’ve got it.”

***

“The Loofah Beach. Scene 21. Take 263.” The loofah crew member clapped a clapperboard.

Two loofahs stood, one holding Justin’s corpse, the other Natalie’s. They used the corpses as puppets and spoke in low pitch voices.

“I’ve dreamt of this moment,” the loofah slumped Natalie’s corpse forward to make it look like she was kissing Justin’s shoulder. “For so long.”

“Me too,” Justin whispered in her ear with a loofah’s voice. “I love you, Natalie.”

“I… I loofah you too, Justin.”

_______

Sean Kelly lives in Florida and is a writer of Bizarro and Splatterpunk.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,022 other followers